About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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One doctor’s plea: Vaccinate your children against the flu

Dr. Bonita Wilson, a Fredericksburg allergist.

When Dr. Bonita Wilson spoke to a gathering of school nurses recently, she made an impassioned pitch for the flu shot.

Wilson, a Fredericksburg allergist, recommended that all young people, from 6 months to 24 years, be vaccinated. Young people may not be at greatest risk from complications of the flu, she said, but they can be crucial to the spread of the disease.

“If you’re going to have an epidemic, it’s usually going to start in the schools,” she said. “Teenagers aren’t much better. Neither are college kids.”

“Schools are like giant petri dishes,” Wilson added. “They’re just breeding grounds for germs.  Kids are just not neat with anything, not with their eating, not when they sneeze. Germs spread like anything in schools.”

And because of that, family members also are at risk, she said.

“The young ones come home and spread it to their grandparents, spread it to their parents, spread it to their siblings,” she said.

Wilson made her plea in May at the eighth annual Asthma Update for Healthcare Providers. She and her colleagues at Allergy Partners of Fredericksburg cosponsor the program. School nurses from across the region attend each year to hear the latest on asthma and the treatment of anaphylaxis.

(For more on this year’s flu season and the availability of the flu vaccine, see the story soon in the paper.)